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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 7, 2016 5:30pm-6:00pm MST

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we welcome you back to the nbc news special, the commander in chief forum. we're speaking with the two major party nominees to find out where they stand on the critical issues. now please welcome the republican nominee for president, donald trump.
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>> how are you? >> thank you, matt. >> over there. good to see you. >> thank you, matt. >> thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> you heard me say to mrs. clinton, secretary clinton, and it didn't completely work out toward the end there, as much as possible i would like you to tell our veterans and our people at home why you are prepared for the role of commander in chief and try to keep the attacks to a minimum. we've had a year of that and maybe 60 more absolutely. >> i guess that's a question of definition. >> i guess. >> any time you interview a president, sitting or past president -- >> was i supposed to answer this question? >> just keep the attacks to a minimum. any time you talk to a president, they'll tell you the most daunting part of the job is the role of commander in chief. >> right. >> what have you experienced in your personal life or your professional life that you believe prepares you to make the decisions that a commander in chief has to make?
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i've been all over the world. i've dealt with foreign countries. i've done very well, as an example, tremendously well dealing with china and dealing with so many of the countries that are just ripping this country. they are just taking advantage of us, like nobody's ever seen before. and i've had great experience dealing on an international basis. i look today, and i see russian planes circling our planes. they're taunting us. i see in iran, i see the boats taunting our ships, our in your life that prepares you to send men and women of the united states into harm's way? >> i think the main thing is i have great judgment. i have good judgment. i know what's going on. i've called so many of the shots. i happened to hear hillary clinton say that i was not against the war in iraq. i was totally against the war in iraq. you can look at "esquire" magazine from '04. you can look at before that. and i was against the war in iraq because i said it's going to totally destabilize
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disastrous war. and by the way, perhaps almost as bad was the way barack obama got out. that was a disaster. >> people talk about you and commander in chief and not just secretary clinton but some of your republican opponents in the primary season, and they wonder about your temperament. they say, does donald trump have the temperament to be commander in chief. you said something recently that i found interesting. you admitted that sometimes in the heat of a debate or when you're talking about a lot of issues, you say things that you later regret. so can we afford that with a commander in chief, to have a commander in chief who says things that he later regrets? >> when you say regret, yeah, sure, i regret. but in the meantime i beat 16 people and here i am. so to a certain extent there is a regret. i would have liked to have done it in a nicer manner. but i had 16 very talented people that i had to go through. that was a lot of people. that was a record, matt, that was a record in the history of republican politics.
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ever has gotten in the history of republican politics. >> but when you say inflammatory things in a presidential candidate, it's different when you're saying them as commander in chief. >> i agree with you. >> when you say things as commander in chief, you can spark a conflict, you can destabilize a region, you can put american lives at risk. can we afford to take that risk with you? >> well, i think absolutely. i think if you saw what happened in mexico the other day where i went there, i had great relationships, everything else. i let them know where the united states stands. i mean, we'ee both on the border and with taking all of our jobs or a big percentage of our jobs. if you look at what happened, the aftermath, the people who arranged the trip in mexico have been forced out of government. that's how well we did. and that's how well we're going to have to do, matt. >> back in august when you admitted you regret some of the things you said, you also said this. i can promise you this, i will always tell you the truth. >> it's true. >> so let me read some of the things you've
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than the generals do, believe me. was that the truth? >> the generals under barack obama and hillary clinton have not been successful. >> do you know more about isis than they do? >> i think under the leadership of barack obama and hillary clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble. they've been reduced to a point that's embarrassing for our country. we have a force of george patton, spinning in his grave as isis we can't beat. >> you said if we had macarthur today or patton today, we would not have isis, that the rise of military commanders that we have today, they come up the chain of command and by the time they come to the top, they're politically correct. and we know that's not a compliment from you. have you lost faith in military commanders? >> i have great faith
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have faith in certain of the commanders, certainly. but i have no faith in hillary clinton's leadership. when she comes in and says, i would have done this, she's been there for 30 years. we need change, matt. we have to have it and we have to have it fast. >> let's go to hallie jackson and our crowd. >> phillip clay with a public affairs officer in the marine corps. he spent a year in anbar province in iraq. he left the military with the rank of captain, service that inspired him to write a book. he's a democrat and has this question for you, mr. trump. >> mr. trump, u.s. troops have bled and died securing towns and provinces from iraq to afghanistan, only to have insurgent groups like isis spring back the moment we leave. you've claimed to have a secret plan to defeat isis. but you're hardly the first politician to promise a quick victory and speedy homecoming. so assuming we do defeat isis, what next? what is your plan for the region to ensure that a group like them
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i mean, part of the problem we've had is we go in, we defeat somebody, then we don't know what we're doing after that. we lose it, like as an example, you look at iraq, what happened, how badly that was handled. and then when president obama took over, likewise, it was a disaster. it was actually somewhat stable, i don't think could ever be very stable, to where we should have never gone into in the first place. but he came in and said when we go out -- and he took everybody out. and really, isis was decision. and frankly, we never even got a shot. if you really look at the aftermath of iraq, iran is going to be taking over iraq. they've been doing it. and it's not a pretty picture. and i think you know, because you've been watching me i think for a long time, i've always said, shouldn't be there, but if we're going to get out, take the oil. if we would have taken the oil, you wouldn't have isis, because isis formed with the power and the wealth of that oil.
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how were we going to do that? >> you would leave a certain group behind and you would take various sections where they have the oil. people don't know this about iraq, they have among the largest oil reserves in the world, in the entire world. we're the only ones, he go in, spend $3 trillion, lose thousands and thousands of lives, and matt, we get nothing. it used to be to the victor belong the spoils. there was no victor there, believe me. there was no victor. but i always said, take the oil. would have had if we took the oil is isis would not have been able to take oil and use that oil -- >> let me -- >> -- to fuel themselves. >> when we've met in the past and we've talked, you say things like i'm going to bomb the expletive out of them very quickly. when people press you for details like that gentleman did, you very often say, i'm not going to give you the details because i want to be unpredictable.
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unpredictable. >> but yesterday you actually told us a little bit about your plan in your speech. you said this. quote, we're going to convene my top generals and they will have 30 days to submit a plan to soundly and quickly defeating isis. so is the plan you've been hiding this whole time asking someone else for their plan? >> no. but when i do come up with a plan that i like and that perhaps agrees with mine or maybe doesn't, i may love what the generals come back with. >> but you have your own plan? but i want to be -- i don't want to -- look. i have a very substantial chance of winning. make america great again. we're going to make america great again. i have a substantial chance of winning. if i win, i don't want to broadcast to the enemy what my plan is. let me tell you, if i like maybe a combination of my plan or the generals' plan, i'm going to call you up and say, matt, we have a great plan. this is what obama does. we're going to leave iraq on a certain daylight.
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generals, and you've already said you know more about isis than those generals. >> they'll probably be different generals, to be honest with you. i'm looking at the generals, today, i have a piece of paper here, i could show it, 88 generals and admirals endorsed me today. >> it's a number. social security numbers. people that have been losing for us for a long period of time. i mean, the fact is, we have had the worst and you could even say the dumbest foreign our results are so bad. we would have been better off had we never, ever spent $2 in that part of the world. >> you recently received two intelligence briefings. >> yes, i did. >> did anything in that briefing, without going into specifics, shock or alarm you? >> yes. very much so. >> did you learn new things in that briefing? >> first of all, i have great respect for the people that gave us the briefings. they were terrific people. they were experts on iraq and iran and different parts of -- and russia.
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thing that shocked me. and it just seems to me that what they said president obama and hillary clinton and john kerry, who is another total disaster, did exactly the opposite. >> did you learn anything in that briefing, again, not going into specifics, that makes you reconsider some of the things you say you can accomplish, like defeating isis quickly? >> no. i didn't learn anything from that standpoint. what i did learn is that our leadership, barack obama, did experts and our truly -- when they call it intelligence, it's there for a reason -- what our experts said to do. and i was very, very surprised. in almost every instance. and i'm pretty good with the body language. i could tell, they were not happy. our leaders did not follow what they were recommending. >> hallie? >> i'm with former army captain sue fulton, a mesquite first west point class to include women. she served as a signal
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] she's a democrat and she has this question for you, mr. trump. >> mr. trump. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. do you believe that an undocumented person who serves, who wants to serve in the u.s. armed forces, deserves to stay in this country legally? >> i think that when you serve in the armed forces, that's a very special situation, and i could see myself working that out, absolutely. >> she's saying has already served in the armed forces or wants to serve, plans to serve? >> plans to serve. plans to serve in the armed forces. as you know, under daca, we already have people who are undocumented, serving. >> i think the military is a very special thing. if they plan on serving, if they get in, i would absolutely hold those people -- now, we have to be very careful. we have to vet very carefully, everybody would agree with that. but the answer is it would be a very special circumstance, yes, thank you. >> thank you very much
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>> stationed at fort brag and was deployed to afghanistan and other places across the middle east. he has not decided who he will vote for yet in november. and you have a question for mr. trump. >> i do. mr. trump, as you know, tensions between the united states and russia have been at the highest level since the cold war. in your first 120 days of presidency, how would you de-escalate the tensions, and more importantly, what steps would you take to bring mr. putin and the rus negotiating table? >> i think i would have a very good relationship with many foreign leaders. i think it's very sad, when you look at barack obama as an example, lands air force one in china, and they don't want to put out stairs to get off the plane. and he has to use the stairs that mechanics use to get up and down to fix the plane. they wouldn't give him stairs. it's very sad when he lands in saudi arabia,
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there aren't high officials to even greet him. this is the first time in the storied history of air force one. i think i would have a very, very good relationship with putin. and i think i would have a very, very good relationship with russia. as i said, take a look today. take a look at what happened with their fighter jets circling one of our aircraft in a very dangerous manner. somebody said less than ten feet away. this is hostility. and i saw just two or three days ago, they along. but i looked at president obama and putin staring at each other. these were not two people getting along. the beautiful part of getting along, russia wants to defeat isis as badly as we do. if we had a relationship with russia, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could work on it together and knock the hell out of isis? wouldn't that be a wonderful -- >> let me ask you
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you said, i will tell you in terms of leadership, he's getting an "a," our president is not doing so well. and when referring to a comment that putin made about you, i think he called you a brilliant leader, you said it's always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected in his country and beyond. >> he does have an 82% approval rating, according to the different pollsters, some of them are based right here. >> he's also a guy who annexed crimea, supports assad in syria, supports iran, is trying to undermine our influence in key regions of the world, and according to our intelligence community, probably is the main suspect for the hacking of the dnc computers. >> well, nobody that for a fact. but do you want me to start naming some of the things that president obama does at the same time? >> do you want to be complimented by that former kgb officer? >> i think when he calls me brilliant, i'll take the compliment, okay? the fact is, look. it's not going to get him anywhere.
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we're going to take back our country. you look at what's happening to our country, you look at the depleted military. we're losing our jobs like we're a bunch of babies. we're going to take back our country, matt. the fact that he calls me brilliant or whatever he calling me is going to have zero impact. >> but the fact that you say you can get along with him, do you think the day you become president of the united states, he's going to change his mind on some of these key issues? >> possibly. it's possible. i don't know, matt. it's possible. and it's not going to have any impact. things about me, i'm going to say great things about him. he is very much of a leader. you can say, oh, isn't that a terrible thing. the man has very strong control over a country. it's a very different system and i don't happen to like the system. but certainly in that system he's been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader. we have a divided country. we have a country where you have hillary clinton with her e-mails that nobody's ever seen where she deletes 33,000 e-mails, and that's after getting a subpoena from congress.
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>> hallie? >> here with me, he was in the army reserves and spent ten months in iraq at the beginning of operation iraqi freedom. he's a republican and has that question for you. >> good evening, mr. trump. >> hi. >> i like what you say about supporting veterans and how they're important. but i haven't heard what the actual plans are to continue that support beyond words. how do you translate those words to action after you take office? >> i love that question, because i've been very close to the vets. you see the relationship i have with the vets just by log came out. and my relationship has been very good. i have a very, very powerful plan that's on my website that you possibly saw. the one of the big problems is wait time. vets are waiting six days, seven days, eight days. and by the way, hillary clinton, six months ago said the vets are being treated essentially just fine. there's no real problem, it's overexaggerated. >> she went on after that and laid out a litany of problems within the va. >> look, i mean, she
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me. i'm telling you, she said she was satisfied with what was going on in the veterans administration. now, under my plan, if you've got to wait -- by the way, people are dying on line. they're dying, waiting, waiting to get to see a doctor. they're waiting five days and six days. under a part of my plan, if they have that long wait, they'll walk outside, they go to the local doctor, they choose the doctor, they choose the hospital, whether it's public or private, they get themselvbe minor procedure or a pill or just a prescription. and they end up dying because they can't get to see the doctor. we will pay the bill. they go outside, they get a doctor, they get a prescription, they do what they have to do, and we pay the bill. that is something that i have been praised -- and by the way, i never said take the va, take the veterans administration private. i wouldn't do that. too much respect for our people. i would never do that. i heard it was said that i said that.
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believe, when you're waiting in line for six, seven days, you should never be in a position like that. you go out, you see the doctor, you get yourself taken care of. >> hallie? >> rachel fred rix specialized in aviations operations in the marine corps serving stateside. she lost two friends to suicide. you now struggle yourself with ptsd. she's a republican but leaning towards you, still undecided a little bit. you have a question for mr. trump. >> i do ask what your plan will be to stop 20 veterans a day from killing themselves. >> and actually it's 22. and it's almost impossible to conceive that this is happening in our country. 20 to 22 people a day are killing themselves. a lot of it is they're killing themselves over the fact that they can't -- they're under tremendous pain and can't see a doctor. we're going to speed up the process. we're going to create
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division. they need help. they need help. they need tremendous help. and we're doing nothing for them. the va is really almost you could say a corrupt enterprise. if you look at what's going on, as an example, matt, in arizona, where they caught people stealing, and they can't even do anything about it, they can't even fire the people. we are going to make it efficient and good. and if it's not good, you're going out to private hospitals, public hospitals, and doctors. thank you very much. >> donald say served a the vietnam era. he's also a democrat and has this question for you. >> mr. trump, i have a daughter who is interested in joining the service. when researching the military, she saw the stats on sexual assault and decided not to go. i have a concern about the rape of women in our armed forces. as president, what specifically would you do to support all victims of sexual assault in the
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problem. the numbers are staggering, hard to believe, even. but we're going to have to run it very tight. i at the same time want to keep the court system within the military. i don't think it should be outside of the military. but we have to come down very, very hard on that. and your daughter is absolutely right, it is a massive problem. but we have to do something about that problem. and the best thing we can do is set up a court system within the military. right now the court system practically doesn't exist. it takes too long. >> in 2013 on this this. quote, 26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military. only 238 convictions. what did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together? >> well, it is a correct tweet. there are many people that think that that's absolutely correct. and we need to have -- >> so this should have been expected? does that mean the only way to fix it is to take women out of the military? >> by the way, since
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but something has to happen. right now nobody gets prosecuted. you have reported, the gentleman can tell you, you have the report of rape and nobody gets prosecuted. there are no consequences. when you have somebody that does something so evil, so bad as that, there has to be consequence for that person. you have to go after that person. right now nobody's doing anything. look at the small number of results. i mean, that's part of the problem. >> so many of the issues that we've talked about with you, mr. trump, tonight, and secretary even career military people and career diplomats and politicians have trouble getting their arms around them. >> right. >> you've had a very different background, in business. so nobody would expect you to have taken over the last 20 years really deep dives into some of these issues. but i'm curious about what you're doing now. what kind of research are you doing now, what kind of homework are you doing, what kind of things are you reading as you prepare
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be elected the next president of the united states? >> sure. well, in the front row you have four generals. you have admirals. you have people all throughout the audience that i'm dealing with. right here is a list that was just printed today of 88 admirals and generals that i meet with and i talk to. >> how much time are you spending? >> a lot. a lot. and i'm doing a lot of different things. don't forget, we're returning a big campaign. we're doing very well. i'm also, you know, and i'm very much giving it to my children and my also partially running a business. i'm campaigning, i'm running a business. i've got a lot of hats right now. but we're doing very well. but in the meantime, i am studying. and i'm meeting constantly, you see general flynn and you see some of the folks that we have, and they're scattered throughout the audience. we have admirals, we have generals, we have colonels. we have a lot of people that i respect. and i think i've learned a lot. but i think also i certainly -- i really
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issues that you're talking about, matt. >> you said in the speech today, you said history shows that when america is not prepared is when the danger is the greatest. >> and we're not prepared. >> will you be prepared on day one if you're elected president of the united states to tackle these complex national security issues? >> 100%. hey, matt, again, she made a mistake on libya. she made a terrible mistake on libya. and the next thing, not only did she make the mistake, but then they complicated the management once they bombed you know what out of qaddafi. i mean, she made a terrible mistake on libya. and part of it was the management aftereffect. i think that we have great management talents, great management skills. >> and you are prepared? >> totally prepared. remember this. i found this subject and these subjects of interest all of my life, matt. this hasn't been only the last 14 months. i've found these
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they were asking me about iraq 14 years ago. they asked me these questions. they don't ask business people those questions. >> let me end at the place i started. have you given much thought, mr. trump, if you're elected president and commander in chief, to that moment where you're going to have to make that first decision that puts american men and women in harms way? >> i think it's the most difficult decision you can possibly ever make. you're talking about death. and we're talking death to not just our side. we're talkith i would be very, very cautious. i think i would be a lot slower. she has a happy trigger. look, she votes for the war -- >> have you thought about personally the emotional burden of that moment? >> i think it's a tremendous burden, i think there's no greater burden that anybody could have. i've been preparing this for a long time. my theme is make america great again. we're going to make america great again. but matt, we've also got to make america strong again. and right now, we are not strong, believe
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military. we have the greatest people in the world in our military. but it is very sadly depleted. >> the republican nominee for president of the united states, donald trump. >> thank you, matt. >> thank you. [ cheers and applause ] >> we'll be back with much more from the "intrepid" carrier on this commander in chief forum, after this.
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there's a lot of people we want to thank for making
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good evening, everybody. our six-story, the presidential candidates -- our big story tonight. our presidential candidates, the race for the white house heats up right here in arizona. could hillary clinton become the first democrat to win arizona a new poll shows that she is leading donald trump. >> both candidates are making a big push. donald trump said he is expanding his arizona campaign team. >> tonight, we're taking a deep dive into tonight's forum


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